Wow.. Welcome to Tulsa!

Oklahoma has been. . . interesting.

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But more on that later.

We started with our ritual gas stop at a 66s station that had a sign that read “TOOT’n TOTUM,” which sounded so weird I took a picture. What’s it even mean? Is it a discount card?

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This was after our continental breakfast at the Quality Inn And Suites in Amarillo, our favorite hotel so far. Not that the couches weren’t stained or that it wasn’t FREEZING cold, but it had a King sized bed that was heavenly, according to my mother (which says something), all the gym equipment worked, the room was spacious, and had a living room separated from the bed, with a chair, couch, two desks, refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker, and TV. And then the bathroom was hardly big enough to twirl around in, which I found to be humorous in comparison.

The 66s gas station was also across from a house entirely dedicated to waffles. A “Waffle House.” Sounds serious.

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I proved my driving skills by driving for a stretch. (If you haven’t read how I failed my driving test post yet, you should.) Then we were back at a station in Elk City called “Hutch’s” to fill up, where my eyes caught on a sign, and I thought it had to be too good to be true.

“89c SLUSHIES,” it read in big bubbly red font, then there were extra little words trickling around the smiling slushie cartoon.

“Hey, can you read what that sign says?” I asked my brother.

“Eighty-nine cent slushies.”

“No. The little print.”

We squinted but couldn’t see and sighed. My brother was convinced that couldn’t be right and perhaps it was eighty-nine cents after a car wash or something. Luckily, my mom was willing to check it out. We weren’t all that hungry, so a slushie would be our “lunch” to hold us over until Tulsa. Well, not only was a slushie eighty nine cents, it was eighty nine cents any size.

Take THAT, McDonalds!

We happily filled up and twittered on over to the mellow, smiling cashier. My mom told her “three,” to which she replied, “would you like free pizza?”

A few beats passed before there was any form of reaction from the three of us combined – if there’s anything my family loves more than slushies, it’s pizza – then my mom broke free of the trance and said, “sure!”

The lady smiled and began picking through the little boxes of pizza in a display to her left. She asked us what kind we wanted, but it comes down to beggars can’t be choosers, so we let her decide. Each box came with two slices. We got sausage, pepperoni-sausage, and three cheese, all from a place called “Hunt Brothers Pizza.”

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What a great welcome to the state of Oklahoma!

Back on the road, we made one more stop at a Cherokee Indian Trading Post, where we asked the lady – as we, or rather, me and my siblings, have Cherokee in us – if there was any way we could prove our heritage, blood tests and such. She said blood test could tell if there’s native American in us, but not the exact tribe. The way to tell that is by looking to see if our ancestors were registered in a town somewhere in the state. It was really helpful.

There were also a lot of cool things at the Trading Post.

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I took so many pictures in this place, I thought I was about to get in trouble. Instead, the lady told me to make sure to take a picture of the huge oxen head on the far right wall. There were paintings, and leather moccasins, feather hats, cactus, walking sticks. I was enthralled by the bear claw necklace in the case (pictured above).

Finally (the story you’ve been waiting for), we got to the hotel, where my mom parked, then left to go check in. This seems to be a pattern, where we wait in the van until she tells us what room to haul the luggage to, and then get out. As we waited, my brother cracked a joke about a jogger passing by.

“White guy running.” He said, just in time for me to see a guy, probably in his early twenties, speeding about in a black tank top and basketball shorts.

I laughed, “who’s chasing him?”

He turned the corner then whipped around and started banging the side of the wall to some strange beat. He jogged a few more steps towards us, then doubled over and started to dry heave.

I just prayed, prayed he didn’t throw up in front of us. Luckily, he was concealed behind a truck.

Then he was gone.

“Where’d he go?” I shifted around in my seat, trying to see over the truck. “Did he faint?”

I was just putting my book down to get out and check, when my brother pointed him out again, “no, there he is.”

He was running circles around a light post in a little grassy island by the parking lot. That’s when I noticed he was barefoot.

Soon my mom came out and we parked the van nearer the hotel entrance and began unloading. We heard a ruckus. People where all staring left, and soon I couldn’t help myself and had to run out from between the cars to see what they were looking at. I honestly saw nothing. Things seemed to die down.

My mom packed my arms with suitcases so I turned and walked toward the entrance, groaning when I realized the doors weren’t automatic, so I had to put a suitcase down, swing the door, wedge myself into it, then grab the suitcase again and whip inside before the door hit me. There were two doors to get into.

I was going toward my final door when I saw a few men on the other side, eyeing me. I honestly thought, surely one will hold open the door. They didn’t, so I went into independent-woman mode and hauled myself inside — then stopped short, staring, mouth probably agape.

There was that runner guy, directly in front of me, being circled by four or five men, all with their palms out like they were closing in on a caged beast. The runner guy was babbling and shaking his head, twitching about, then whipped around and kicked over one of the lobby chairs, almost in my direction.

A woman from the hotel rushed toward me. “Do you need to get upstairs?”

“I – uh – yeah.”

She smiled a smile that was developed from who knows how many years of practice. A smile that said there isn’t a crazed, violent man behind me, please carry on with your wonderful day, thank you, then did a cute little gesture to my right, where the elevator was directly located.

I thanked her then got in, feeling obedient, then suddenly stopped. “Wait! Did a little boy in a red sweater –”

“Yes. I sent him up as well.”

I don’t know how my little brother got passed all of that, but soon we were upstairs, and by the time my mom followed behind us to the room, the men had hauled runner guy to the bathroom, where he was screaming.

My mom thinks she heard some talk about acid. Soon the police, firemen, and paramedics where here and there was a lot of activity near the bathroom as they tried, I assume, to calm him down. Maybe even sedate him.

They were all gone in maybe half an hour.

Well. . Welcome to Tulsa!

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